US restrictions on Huawei to have minor effect on growth – CEO

Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Executive Officer and founder Ren Zhengfei said he expects U.S. restrictions won’t hurt the Chinese company’s growth much, Nikkei reported.

“Huawei’s growth may slow, but only slightly,” Ren told Japanese reporters at the telecommunications equipment maker’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China, according to Nikkei. It was his first media statement since President Donald Trump and the U.S. Commerce Department imposed restrictions on May 15. The closely held company’s revenue growth may fall short of 20%, Ren said.

Trump signed an order that’s expected to restrict Huawei and Chinese competitor ZTE Corp. from selling equipment in the U.S., and the Commerce Department put Huawei on a list that could block it from doing business with U.S. companies. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Huawei and its affiliates pose national security risks to the U.S., and that the restrictions are a separate issue from the U.S.-China trade negotiations.

“We have not done anything that violates the law,” Ren said, criticizing the U.S. restrictions.

“We will not change our management at the request of the U.S. or accept monitoring, as ZTE has done,” he said, according to Nikkei. The U.S. last year lifted a moratorium on ZTE’s purchases of critical American technology after the company agreed to make board and management changes, accept external monitoring of its activities and pay more than $1 billion in fines.

Huawei will be “fine” even if it can’t buy chips from U.S. suppliers, as “we have already been preparing for this,” Ren said, according to Nikkei. He ruled out the possibility of producing 5G equipment in the U.S.

“Even if the U.S. asks us to manufacture over there, we will not go,” he said.

Now read: Investors are ignoring huge Huawei trade risks – Wall Street

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US restrictions on Huawei to have minor effect on growth – CEO